I got a comment from one of my readers about the Lamy Safari pen I’ve been using lately. Up until a couple of weeks ago I had been using a variety of fineliners: Pigma Microns, Faber Castell Pitt Pens, and Staedtler. They are all good, I like the dark even line they make and the waterproof ink, but never last long before the nib or ink wear out. I know a lot of people enjoy using fountain pens in their sketches so wanted to see what the fuss was about.
I bought a Lamy Safari, converter and ink from The Writing Desk in the UK. I chose the Safari because it is a popular choice, known to be a workhorse of a pen, and is affordable compared to a lot of fountain pens. The colour is Hot Coral pink, I’m not a pink person but I wanted a pen that I could find without hunting or not lose if I drop it (put into practice the other day when I dropped it on the ground a few times). I use a F nib, mostly because I like a bolder line and I find it is fine enough for me. If you love thin lines they also do an EF nib. The beauty of fountain pens is you can vary the line with pressure, speed and angle, even using it upside down to make very faint lines. I do find the pen a little heavy compared to fineliners, so I tend to keep the cap off for better balance.
Because I like doing watercolour washes I wanted a waterproof ink. In the US Noodler’s Bulletproof inks are very popular, but expensive to buy in the UK (Pure Pens are a stockist) and some have issues about it taking a long time to dry. Liz Steel recommends De Atramentis Archive Ink, which is waterproof and affordable. So far so good, it is dark, totally waterproof and dries very quickly.
If you want to use bottled ink you’ll have to remember to buy the converter. It is cheap and easy to use, install the converter, stick the entire nib in the ink and twist slowly up to suck up the ink. It can be a bit messy (ask me how I know) but that bottle of ink is going to last you a good long time, saving you cartridges and money. As long as you use the pen on a daily basis you shouldn’t have any problems with clogging, but it’s recommended that you give the pen a clean once a month. Flush the converter with COOL water and soak the nib in a glass of water (overnight is perfect). Give it a dry and reassemble.
I’d love to try other fountain pens in the future, maybe even dip pens for fun. What do you love to use for your sketches?